Monday, January 21, 2008

Edwards' Last Chance/ Another Chance for the Congressional Black Caucus to Do What It Does Best (Worst)

Tonight’s (Jan. 21) debate in South Carolina may be John Edwards’ last chance to keep hope alive that a (somewhat) progressive Presidency will succeed twenty-eight years of Bush, Clinton, Bush and the mother [f…] of them all, Reagan – or, for that matter, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower (the best of the lot), Truman, and even FDR, once the New Deal stalled. The chances are infinitesimal; the corporate media, including the “quality” press and NPR, have done their jobs too well. Making lovey-dovey with Obama and Clinton, as Edwards did in last week’s Las Vegas debate, is not the way. As Hillary, the former Goldwater Girl, might once have said: “civility in the face of Clintonism is no virtue.” I confess I had a moment of doubt after the purported reaction to her tearing up before the New Hampshire primary, but I’m back on board: what this country needs are Monica Lewinsky Democratic Clubs in every city and town. [It was less clear the morning after than it now is that the reason the polls got New Hampshire so wrong had more to do with white racism – the so-called “Bradley effect” – than Hillary’s tears.]

But don’t hold your breath waiting for Edwards to score a Hail Mary. And since the “debate” is organized by the Congressional Black Caucus, Pelosiites avant la lettre, don’t expect any obvious and pertinent but embarrassing questions to come up either. Don’t expect Hillary Clinton to be forced to explain how being an official wife counts as setting a good example for young girls or fulfills the hopes of second wave feminists or why African Americans or Latinos should look kindly on her husband’s administration. [In Nevada, whether out of anti-black racism or because they’re deluded and ill-informed too, astonishingly many Latinos cast their caucus votes for Hillary – about twice as many as for Obama, despite the Culinary Workers union bosses’ opportunistic support for Obama (over John Edwards who had done yeoman service for them). The Congressional Black Caucus will be, if anything, even more mute on latino-black hostilities than Obama has been on the Bradley effect. In neither case, though, will the problem go away by wishing it so or by ignoring it.]

Don’t expect them either to ask Barack Obama how far he thinks he can get running on empty.

If it were up to me, I’d pose an even more unaskable, though obvious and pertinent, question to all three of the candidates. I’d put it like this: “Collective punishment is illegal under international law and it is a longstanding and well-established principle of international law that occupying powers must provide for the basic needs of subject populations. The government of Israel has flagrantly violated these standards of international law, and common sense morality, along with many others. Just today, it shut off power to most residents of the illegally occupied Gaza Strip, ostensibly for “security” reasons but actually, as the whole world knows (except for Americans whose media won’t report the obvious), to punish Gazans for voting for Hamas in free and fair elections. [What they actually did was vote against an increasingly corrupt and servile PLO that has all but made common cause with Israel and the United States.] Mssrs. Obama and Edwards and especially you, Ms. Clinton, since you purport to have “experience” in these matters, is there any atrocity that the Israeli government could commit (short of gas chambers or maybe even that!) before you’d utter even a mild and meaningless word of condemnation?”

1 comment:

R said...

The need for powerful, multi-racial unity against racism, not just against corporate power, is absolutely critical in rebuilding any kind of progressive movement. But...no electoral candidate can seriously deal with this because racism is the bedrock of U.S. capitalism; about 1/3 of all profits are made from it, and no candidate is going to go against that fact of capitalist life. For those going back to the 1960s, remember that revolution against capitalism was de rigeur if we had any hope for defeating racism in a serious, non-cosmetic way. But cosmetics have triumphed! So, Andy, how about getting back to a strategy that, while difficult, might actually have the possibility of working! Send me a message if you'd like to follow up. We're still working on this! I have a study-action group that meets at Howard University if you'd like to get back to that old-time Columbia discussion.